Ashton Whitaker, 17, is a transgender boy who took his Wisconsin school district to court when they wouldn’t allow Whitaker to use the boy’s bathroom unless he completed physical gender transition. Last September, U.S. District Judge Pamela Pepper gave Whitaker permission to use the boy’s bathroom at his school, however, his Wisconsin school district was not happy and so appealed the ruling. They argued that Whitaker was putting the other boys in harm by using their bathroom.However, a unanimous three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals did not agree with the Whitaker’s school district. They instead ruled in favor of Whitaker using the bathroom of his gender identity.
Judge Ann Claire Williams wrote, “The harms identified by the school district are all speculative and based upon conjecture, whereas the harms to Ash are well‐documented and supported by the record. As a consequence, we affirm the grant of preliminary injunctive relief.”
This ruling is being touted as a landmark ruling which could have significant affects in the 7th Circuit (Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin) as well as nationally.
Whitaker’s attorney’s stated that this is the “first federal appeals court to find conclusively that a transgender student has the right to be treated in accordance with the student’s gender identity at school under both Title IX and the Constitution.”
Whitaker said in a statement released by the Transgender Law Center, “After facing daily humiliation at school last year from being threatened with discipline and being constantly monitored by school staff just to use the bathroom, the district court’s injunction in September allowed me to be a typical senior in high school and to focus on my classes, after-school activities, applying to college, and building lasting friendships.”
He added, “I am thrilled that the Seventh Circuit recognized my right to be treated as the boy that I am at school.”